Righty Zach Lee Continues Dodgers' Texas Tradition





LOS ANGELES—Add the Dodgers scouting department to the list of Texas staples such as 10-gallon hats, cowboy boots and slow-cooked barbecue.

With the first-round selection of hard-throwing righthander Zach Lee from McKinney (Texas) High, the Dodgers now have drafted a Lone Star State pitcher with their first pick four times in the past five years.

Lefty Clayton Kershaw (seventh overall, 2006), righthander Chris Withrow (20th, 2007) and lefty Aaron Miller (36th, 2009) preceded Lee, who went 28th overall this year.

Scouting director Logan White lauded not only Lee's 93 mph fastball, which has topped out at 95, but he said Dodgers scouts rate the 18-year old with a plus curveball and plus changeup.

"He's an athlete with good size and strength," White said. "He's got a really good delivery. He has easy, easy arm action. He's one of those guys who has the rare ability to manipulate the ball, and he's a very good strike thrower who knows how to change speeds."

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Lee won 11 games in his senior season at McKinney with a 2.15 ERA and 90 strikeouts.

White said that Lee is projected to move fast through the lower levels of the organization, but there is some uncertainty if that will ever come to pass.

Not only is Lee a highly-touted prospect in baseball, but he also was a highly-recruited quarterback who signed a letter of intent to attend Louisiana State in the fall. Lee passed for 2,565 yards and 31 touchdowns as a high school senior.

White suggested the Dodgers had Lee projected to go much earlier than the 28th pick in the draft, but he wouldn't pinpoint exactly where so as to not hinder negotiations.

"I know LSU is a quality program and there are good people over there," White said. "It's going to be a tough decision for him. But I hope when he sees the Dodgers side of it and know what we have to offer. He'll see it's a great organization."

Lee's opportunity to go to LSU might not be the only factor when it comes time to hammer out a contract. Talk already had begun that the Dodgers might have drafted a player they knew they couldn't sign anyway.

The team has kept itself on a tight budget ever since owner Frank McCourt started the process of a contentious divorce this past offseason.

"As the summer plays out, I think you will see the effort will be made to get him signed," White said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're going to get him to sign, because it will really be the decision of Zach and his family."

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

• Righthander Ethan Martin, the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2008, struck out nine while pitching his first career shutout May 27 for high Class A Inland Empire. The 21-year old was 5-4, 5.79 over his first 10 appearances (seven starts).

• A two-homer game May 24 and a .714 slugging percentage helped Double-A Chattanooga outfielder Trayvon Robinson earn the Southern League hitter of the week award for the final week of May.